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CRIME

Too big to jail? Critics question why big banks, execs don't face money laundering charges

Some former federal prosecutors are among those who think prosecutors should have brought criminal charges against some former executives at British bank HSBC after it was accused of laundering money for drug dealers and rogue countries.

They include one ex-prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of Notre Dame and another who was the former inspector general of the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The Justice Department announced last week that it had reached a record $1.9 billion settlement against the bank after the institution was accused of laundering money for Iran, Libya and Mexico's murderous drug cartels.

But the government says it has to worry about "collateral consequences" that could sink a company that employs tens of thousands of people and is tied tightly to the economies of the roughly 80 countries where it does business.